Lil Tjay's Tribute To Deceased Friend Taken Down Over Uncleared Giveon Sample

It’s almost impossible to find a Lil Tjay song that doesn’t include a reference to “Smelly,” Lil Tjay’s childhood best friend who passed away in 2016. While Esmerlyn “Smelly” Toribio’s legacy has survived thanks to the consistent respect and homage Lil Tjay pays to him through lyrical name drops, the Bronx rapper released “Forever In My Heart”– a tribute song and video about his late friend, this week for the fifth anniversary of Toribio’s passing. Though the song was never released on streaming services, Lil Tjay announced on Instagram today that it has been pulled off of YouTube after a Giveon sample in the beat wasn’t cleared by his label, leaving the rapper distraught. 

“They took down ‘Forever In My Heart’ because I ain’t cleared the Giveon sample,” a hoodied up and somber Lil Tjay said on Instagram. The Bronx rapper then explained why the sample, from Giveon’s “Heartbreak Anniversary”, wasn’t cleared: “I ain’t put it on platforms I really made that sh*t probably 2-3 days before I even dropped it. So I couldn’t clear it or even try to clear it but I just put it on YouTube.” Clearly, Tjay was more focused on sharing the message and honoring his friend than any industry formalities. “I wasn’t even trying to really like sell a song or put it on platforms. it was just for the art, you feel me?” the rapper said.